Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the most beautiful places on earth. Once you see it, you will never forget. I guess that is one of the biggest reasons millions of people visit the park each year.
According to the U.S. National Park Service, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is number one on their “10 Most Visited National Parks” list. We love “our” park, and we know you will too.
The National Park Service recently announced that Great Smoky Mountains National Park set another new attendance record. In 2021, 14,137,812 people visited the park, up more than 1.5 million visitors in 2019.
Entrance is FREE Year-Round
Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the ONLY major national park without an entrance fee. That’s right, entrance to the park is FREE year round, not just on special days!
What’s the Big Deal?
Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a big deal, but not because of its size. It barely breaks into the top twenty at only 817 square miles (522,427 acres).
Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a big deal because of the diversity of its plant life, wildlife, waterfalls, rivers, streams, sweeping vistas, and our unparalleled access to it. More than 800 miles of maintained trails twist, turn, climb, and descend throughout the mountains. They are waiting to be explored, by you.
The park is a great place for hiking, picnicking, motorcycle riding, fishing, photography, birding, spotting black bears, tubing, horseback riding, and much more.
Seven gateway cities in North Carolina and Tennessee provide quick and easy access to the park. In North Carolina, visitors most often choose to stay in nearby Maggie Valley, Bryson City, and Cherokee.
In Tennessee, Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Sevierville, and Townsend are the destinations of choice.
All of these cities are close to the park. They offer lodging, restaurants, night life, activities, and entertainment. Spend your days in the park, and your evenings having fun in a gateway city.
IMPORTANT: There are no cell phone towers inside Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It is RARE to get a mobile signal inside the park. Expect to pick up a signal only when you get close to the border of the park.
Things to Do | What can you do in the park? Plan your vacation activities in Great Smoky Mountains National Park before arriving. Get information about hiking, horseback riding, bicycling, fishing, picnicking, and explore learning in the park.
Popular Destinations | Are you wondering where to go in Great Smoky Mountains National Park? Here is a list of popular destinations including Cades Cove, Cataloochee Valley, Clingman’s Dome, Elkmont, Oconaluftee Mountain Farm Museum and Mingus Mill, Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, and the official Park Visitor Centers.
Black Bears | More than 1,600 black bears live in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. So, What is the Best Place to Spot Black Bears? What are the Three Big Reasons You Should Not Feed Black Bears? What to Do if You Encounter a Black Bear. These three informative articles help visitors understand the basics of black bears.
Lodging | If want to sleep inside Great Smoky Mountains National Park, you must head to one of the many campgrounds or hike to LeConte Lodge. Need to check out your options? Visit our LeConte Lodge page or our Park Campgrounds page for more information.
Extras | Where do you put the interesting articles that don’t belong in one of our other categories? Well, we decided to put them here. Do you need to know the park’s pet policy? How about the regulations about bringing firewood into the park? Yep, you can find it in our extras pages.